Newbury Spring Festival


Full Festival Diary

This year we welcome for the first time some distinguished guests: the great British pianist Imogen Cooper, who with her trio will play an all Beethoven programme in Hungerford, and renowned choral director Paul McCreesh who brings his Gabrieli Consort to Ramsbury for an evening of English pastoral gems. The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra will travel from their home city of Novosibirsk to Newbury for the first time, while on the opening night principal guest conductor Xian Zhang brings BBC National Orchestra of Wales for an evening of Brahms and Beethoven.

Roderick Williams is one of the world’s great baritones and I am delighted to welcome him for the first time, to join the Festival Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Sophie Bevan and Martyn Brabbins returning to Newbury for a performance of Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony. It is also a great pleasure to welcome distinguished actors Juliet Stephenson and Henry Goodman alongside festival regular Lucy Parham for Beloved Clara, and French period instrument group Ensemble Masques, to Newbury for their festival debuts.

As always, I am proud to present many new outstanding young musicians, like brilliant French guitarist Thibaut Garcia at Donnington Priory, and all this year’s lunchtime recitalists. Meanwhile Alexander Sitkovetsky, Robertas Lozinskis, Adam Walker, Misha Mullov-Abbado, Michael Buchanan, Jennifer Pike, Julian Bliss, SANSARA, Doric and Sacconi Quartets all return this year alongside the latest members of National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Ballet Central and Chichester University’s Musical Theatre Company. Our own Sheepdrove Piano Competition is also sure to showcase more world class young musicians.

Jazz features prominently at the Corn Exchange, and balancing our middle weekend of young jazz stars, we open and close with veterans BBC Big Band and Pasadena Roof Orchestra, celebrating their 50th Anniversary.

Marking the 500th Anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci and the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria, I am pleased to welcome Matthew Landrus and A N Wilson to speak at Shaw and Englefield Houses, while this year’s Sydmonton interview is with celebrated lyricist Don Black

While we value the support of our regular audiences, we always hope to attract more young people to the Festival, so in addition to our established education programme, please take a look at the new scheme where those under 25 can apply for free tickets to selected events throughout the Festival. I wish you a happy fortnight.

Mark Eynon, Festival Director